Style Files

September 29, 2022

Pillow Placement Perfection

Pillow placement, sizing, and styling tips.

Pillows are fun and personality-filled home accessories that are an easy way to transform the decor of your home. You can solidify your design style by adding pops of color, texture, and luxury; and even swap them out according to seasons and trends.

So, why are we talking about pillows? Although Tandem Arbor specializes in custom furniture, as design experts at our core, we are happy to announce the debut of our new, luxe accent pillow line! With our extensive assortment of pillows you can enhance your space and complement your Tandem Arbor custom furniture, making your house feel like a home. We have options that are crafted with our current upholstery selection to give you a perfect match. We also have some decorative options to give your sofa (or bed or chair or chaise or daybed) a pop of style.

To take advantage of all the perks accent pillows have to offer, it’s all about making the right selection for your space. Essentially, selecting the right pillow is all about the size and the placement - AKA, what piece of furniture it will be sitting atop. To simplify the selection process, we’ve pooled our furniture stylists’ favorite tips to achieve pillow placement perfection.

For Chairs

In our opinion, armchairs just don’t look right without a pillow to complement it. Compared to a sofa or bed though, chairs leave less room to pile on pillows. For a chair with classic sizing, we suggest decorating with:

  • Place a single lumbar pillow
  • OR place one to two 20” to 22” sized pillows

For Daybeds

Daybeds are a multifunctional piece of furniture meant for lounging, sitting back or sleeping, therefore, pillows should be piled on to reach maximum levels of comfort and relaxation. Here’s how we suggest decorating your daybed:

One layer for a no-fuss, clean look:

  • Place 22” to 24” pillows in the corners/ends

Two layers to mix two different textures, colors, or patterns:

  • Layer 1: Place two 22” pillows in the corners/ends
  • Layer 2: Place two 20” pillows or one lumbar pillow in front of layer 1

Three layers to mix solids and large vs small scale patterns:

  • Layer 1: Place two 22” pillows in the corners/ends
  • Layer 2: Place two 20” pillows in front of layer 1
  • Layer 3: Place one 20” pillow or one lumbar pillow in front of layer 2

For Small Sofas & Loveseats - less than 72 inches wide

Due to size, smaller sofas and loveseats can feel busy without having much placed on them. That said, one or two layers of pillows work best on small sofas and loveseats:

One layer:

  • Place two 20” pillows in the corners of spaced out evenly from the middle

Two layers:

  • Layer 1: Place two 20” pillows at the back
  • Layer 2: Place two 17” pillows or one lumbar pillow in front of the 20” pillows

For Long Sofas - 96 inches wide or greater

With long sofas, you can safely add up to four layers of pillows. However, if you’re more of a minimalist, you can still keep it simple and stick with one or two layers:

One layer:

  • Place two 22” or 24” pillows in the corners/ends

Two layers:

  • Layer 1: Place two 24” pillows in the corners/ends
  • Layer 2: Place two 22” pillows or one lumbar pillow in front of the 24” pillows

Three layers:

  • Layer 1: Place two 24” pillows in the corners/ends
  • Layer 2: Place two 22” pillows in front of the 24” pillows
  • Layer 3: Place two 20” pillows or one lumbar pillow in front of the 22” pillows

Four layers:

  • Layer 1: Place two 24” pillows in the corners/ends
  • Layer 2: Place two 22” pillows in front of the 24” pillows
  • Layer 3: Place two 20” or 22” pillows in front of layer 2
  • Layer 4: Place two 20” pillows or one lumbar pillow in front of layer 3

For Sectionals

When styling a sectional with pillows, you have space to work with and the corners where sections meet leave tons of room to place accent pillows. Remember, a sectional is meant to feel cozy and welcoming - below is how you can achieve it.

For each side/end, we suggest:

  • Place 22” to 24” pillow in the back
  • Layer smaller 20” to 22” pillows in front of the 22” to 24” pillow
  • OR layer with lumbar pillow in front of the 22” to 24” pillow

And for each inside corner, we suggest:

  • Place 22” to 24” pillow in the corner
  • Place a 20” to 22” pillow on each side of the larger pillow
  • Layer with smaller pillows or a lumbar pillow in front of the larger 20” to 24” pillows

For Benches

Most upholstered benches don’t have a back, such as Tandem Arbor’s Charlton Bench. That said, there is nothing to prop and layer tons of pillows on like sofas or daybeds. Here’s what you can do to enhance your bench with pillows:

  • Place matching lumbar pillows on each end of the bench

For Twin Beds

When we think of twin beds, we think of vacation homes, guest rooms, or kids’ bedrooms, all of which should feel cozy and comfortable, but not over-crowded. To achieve the perfect balance when adding pillows to a made-up twin bed:

  • Place a single lumbar in front of the sleeping pillow(s)
  • OR place a 22” pillow paired with a lumbar pillow in front of the sleeping pillow(s)

For Full Beds

With full beds, we start getting into a size that allows room for more pillows, but you’ll want to make sure it doesn’t feel over-crowded. Here’s how you should style accent pillows on a full-size bed:

  • Place two 24” pillows in front of the sleeping pillow(s)
  • Layer a lumbar pillow in front of the 24” pillows
  • OR layer a 20” pillow in front of the 24” pillows

For Queen and King Beds

Have a queen or king size bed to style? Lucky you! When it comes to furniture of this size, you have lots of room to play with, however, styling a bed of this scale can also be tricky. To ease the burden, here’s how to style accent pillows on a queen or king bed:

  • Place two 24” pillows in front of the sleeping pillow(s)
  • Layer a lumbar pillow in front of the 24” pillows
  • OR layer a 20” pillow and a lumbar pillow in front of the 24” pillows

Last Words of Wisdom: How to Fluff Your Pillow

If packing a punch (pun intended) with your throw pillows is the goal, you’ll have to fluff and re-fluff your pillows over time to ensure they are fully expanded and loft. Here’s how:

By hand: Place the pillow on your lap and act as if you are playing the accordion, pushing the pillow in and out. Do this on both the short and long sides of the pillow. This technique will break up any pieces inside the pillow and allow air to enter, increasing the pillow’s loft. If you notice large chunks, work your hands into the pillow, as if you are massaging it, to break them up and allow them to re-distribute inside your pillow.

In the dryer: If the care instructions on your pillow allow for it, toss it in the dryer. Some fillings will need to be fluff on a low temperature to avoid damage. Note, it may not take a full cycle for your pillow to fluff up.

Outside: Some pillows do very well when left outside to breathe and fluff. Leave your pillow in a sunny spot outside where the breeze can gently fluff it.


Now that you have the tools necessary to choose the pillow sizes and quantity you need, are you ready to shop for the pillows needed to achieve perfect pillow placement? Our first-ever pillow collection ranges in style from traditional to modern to contemporary, and everything in between, offering a range of options to match any space. Plus, our pillows allow you to have fun adding dimension by playing with textures, patterns, and overall scale. Check out our new accent pillow collection today!

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